When is a phone booth not a phone booth?
Clan Ross began the return journey last night, and today we are aiming to make it to Spokane, WA for lunch before continuing on to Missoula, MT. If I were to judge all of the gas stations
In rural Oregon by the handful I’ve seen, I’d say they were an odd contrast: at first glance, they’re completely ordinary. However, they are full service and someone else is paid to pump your gas for you. At first I thought this was due to the old but well-maintained pumps; however, at this last station (the Cross Roads Truck Stop in Umatilla, OR) they had nice, newer pumps with credit card readers.
It felt a little weird handing my credit card to another guy just to swipe it.
As I headed in to find some beverages for the next leg, I found a different treasured throwback standing next to the entrance: a well-maintained 1980’s pay phone booth.
If I were to see one of these anywhere else, I could almost guarantee it would either be decorated with marker graffiti or it would have long since been removed from the face of human civilization; this piece, in comparison, was museum-grade. I had to have a picture, but I didn’t want to hang around with a reputation for looking like a tourist so I decided to get it on the way out.
When I came out, I got a different view and was struck by the fact that the booth was empty — literally devoid of any inhabitant.
The phone booth is clean and intact, but there’s neither phone nor directory — a contrast between the old and new paradigms, a reminder that the age of the pay phone has passed, leaving the booth as a curious reminder of younger days. It’s a collectible to be admired, not used.
What happened to the phone and directory in this booth — did they just fade away one day when no one was looking?
The funny thing is, I tend to forget about these things until I see them again for the first time in years; like an acquaintance who quietly disappeared long ago, I think, ‘oh yeah — whatever happened to that?’